I am about to purchase my first acetylene torch set up and
wondered which one is my best option. I am only looking at
acetylene and air right now rather than an oxy/gas rig.
The two choices out there seem to be Smith and Prest-o-lite. Any
opinions on which is better for the money. Smith is slightly
more expensive but not by enough to make much of a difference.
Thanks for any suggestions:
I really like my Smith. I prefer the feel and balance of the
handle and feel I can get smaller more intense flames. But that
is just my opinion.
I am happy with my Prestolite. It has fewer tips than the Smith,
but I have not found this to be a hardship, and I can always buy
additional tips from a welding supplier if needed.
Just a note to you, I use an acetylene and air torch daily, for
my needs it is great. I personally have a hard time adjusting
the acetylene and oxygen torch, seeing as though I am so
accustom to the other. Also one advantage would be the flame
is not bright white like that of the acetylene oxygen torch, it
is easy to focus on your work to make sure everything goes as
planned. Thanks Amanda
I agree with Lorri. I have both torches in both of my
classrooms, and have had students work with both, nearly all
choose the Smith. Now, that may be due to some bias on my part,
because for the way I teach and do silversmithing, I believe the
Smith torch tips give me the type of flame that I like. Now and
then I even use it for a quick gold job, instead of opening and
using my mini oxygen/acetylene torch.
The handle is an important consideration too! Try to get to a
welding supply house to actually hold both in your hands if you
In looking for a good torch, look for a dealer that stands
behind the torch.
Does the dealer help you fix the blocked orifices, have repair
service and/or parts, give lots of good safety training? Smith
and Prest-o-Lite are great names, and by all means demand an
established name brand. This is a potentially dangerous product,
so buy wisely at a good place.
Between the two you mentioned Smith is by the best. I think
that it gives far better control. I used to work in a studio
where I had both torches available and I always grabbed the
Smith before anyone else got it. When it came time to purchase
one for my home studio I bought the Smith and have been happy
with it. If I had to do it over again I might go with
oxy-propane because acetylene is a very dirty gas. When I
bought my torch dealing with oxygen made me nervous.
I’m an adherent to oxy/propane (Hoke type) torches, but when I
teach the choice is often between Prestolite (and Goss) and Smith
acetylene/air. I much prefer the Smith-- it seems more precsise
and “feels” better than Prestolite or Goss. The tips seem to
cover a wider range and attach to the torch body in a more
straight forward and machined way. Additionaly, when you drop a
Prestolite on a hard floor, the plastic handle can sometimes
break. Another problem is that this handle often loosens and for
some reason you can never seem to retighten it as well as before.
One advantage to the Prestolite type of handle is its size: less
hand fatigue and the fact that it’s plastic means that on a cold
winter morning it’s fairly comfortable to hold.
Good luck, Andy Cooperman